Archived page: may contain outdated information!

Colombia: ICRC and Ministry of Social Protection present a guide for improving treatment for casualties of armed conflict

09-05-2011 News Release 11/112

Bogotá (ICRC) – Today in Bogotá, with a view to improving treatment for the casualties of armed conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Colombian Ministry of Social Protection presented a handbook on medical and surgical treatment for the victims of armed conflict.

"This handbook draws on the ICRC's international experience in this sphere and also contains invaluable contributions from Colombian specialists," said Christophe Beney, head of the ICRC delegation in Colombia. "We hope that the handbook will be extremely useful to doctors, nurses and surgeons in Colombia, given the importance of appropriate, differential and specific treatment that is needed for wounds of this kind."

The victims of armed conflict include people wounded by improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war, and also the victims of firearms and other devices.

Most cases in which people are wounded occur in remote rural areas where conditions are harsh and resources limited. Moreover, in many cases such injuries occur on a massive scale and if initial care is poor, irreversible complications may arise for the patients.

"The important thing about this handbook is all the coordinated work which has been done by Colombian and ICRC doctors with the aim of improving treatment for patients," said anesthesiologist Pilar Rincón, who helped to draft the text. "It enables us to adapt international standards to the reality, often involving scarce resources, imposed by situations of conflict, in order to avoid further damage and improve the ways in which we respond to and care for wounded persons."

The handbook is the final product of some two years' work involving 55 Colombian and ICRC doctors aimed at defining best practice and drawing key conclusions with regard to caring for the wounded.    

For further information, please contact:
María Cristina Rivera, ICRC, Colombia, tel. +57 311 491 07 75